Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team tries to even OVC mark against Morehead State

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Southeast Missouri State women's basketball team finally had gotten used to some success, its recent three-game winning streak marking the program's longest since the 2008-09 season.

Now the Redhawks hope to rebound from a two-game losing streak when they close out a two-game homestand against Morehead State.

Southeast (8-10, 2-3 Ohio Valley Conference) and the Eagles (6-13, 2-3) will square off at 6:30 p.m. today on Youth Basketball Night at the Show Me Center.

All youth basketball players will be admitted free. They should wear their youth basketball jersey or mention Youth Basketball Night at the ticket window for free admission.

"I don't want to say it's a must, but it pretty much is," senior guard Bailie Roberts said following Saturday's hard-fought 82-71 loss to defending OVC regular-season and tournament champion Tennessee-Martin. "We really need to get back to .500 because we've struggled on the road. It's going to be a huge game."

Southeast, which has been strong at home this season, had an impressive performance against a Tennessee-Martin squad that beat the Redhawks by a combined 74 points in two games last year.

The Redhawks held a 68-66 lead with under four minutes left but were outscored 16-3 the rest of the way.

"I thought it was a great women's college basketball game," second-year Southeast coach Ty Margenthaler said. "We had our chances."

Margenthaler's improved team already has won more games than during his first season last year when Southeast went 7-22. The Redhawks' next victory will mark the program's most wins since the 2008-09 squad went 15-15.

"We're making progress. We're getting better," Margenthaler said.

One of the Redhawks' big goals this year is to qualify for the eight-team OVC tournament, something they have not done since 2008-09. Margenthaler knows it's going to take a decent amount of conference wins to do that, which makes each game important.

"I have no problem saying it: Every game we play from here on out is the biggest game of the year," Margenthaler said.

Especially contests at home, where the Redhawks are 6-2 compared to 1-8 on the road (they also own a neutral-site victory).

"It's very important to protect your home court," Margenthaler said. "We've played well at home."

Morehead enters today's contest having won five of their last nine games after a 1-9 start.

The Eagles went 10-19 overall and 7-9 in OVC play last year to tie for sixth place. They squeezed out a 61-57 victory at Southeast in the only meeting between the programs.

Morehead is led by 5-foot-5 junior guard Terrice Robinson, the league's No. 3 scorer with a 17.3 average. She is shooting 39.1 percent from 3-point range (43 of 110) to rank sixth in the OVC.

Another double-figure scorer for the Eagles is 5-6 sophomore guard Almesha Jones with an 11.2 average.

Robinson and Jones are scoring more in OVC play, ranking third and fifth with averages of 21.5 and 17.8.

The Eagles, as has been their custom, shoot a lot of 3-pointers. They are second in the OVC in both 3-pointers made (137) and attempted (473), although they rank only eighth in 3-point percentage at 29 percent.

"I expect a tough game against a good Morehead team," Margenthaler said.

Following today's matchup, Southeast faces a two-game road swing beginning Saturday at OVC powerhouse Eastern Illinois.

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